Happy birthday, Star Trek – here’s what you mean to this Trekkie


People often ask me about my love of Star Trek, and on this day, the 50th anniversary of its going on air, I thought I might try to explain to nonTrekkies what it means to some of us Trekkies.

I was always a black sheep, a misfit toy, the odd girl out, even when I was a child. I knew as far back as I can remember that I was different.

For starters, I had an immense compassion for animals (to the point of capturing bugs in the house and taking them outside, which I still do); bad things that happened to people wounded me deeply, to the point of not only tears, but complete exhaustion (think May Boatwright in “The Secret Life of Bees”); and I was a girly girl who also liked things that girls weren’t supposed to like (jumping ramps on my bike, climbing trees, playing Army with my friends, who were all boys).

I didn’t really fit in anywhere, with anyone. And that was OK with me, because I’ve always enjoyed my own company, and I always knew deep down that being different didn’t mean being wrong, because as I thankfully learned in Sunday school, God doesn’t make mistakes.

But children can be hard on each other, and seeing original “Star Trek” reruns on the screen when I was little helped ease my discomfort, my loneliness, my pain. In this bold new universe, I saw and related to people with too much emotion, people with too little emotion, people who had pointed ears, people who were different colors, people who had different talents, people who were happy, people who were sad, people of all races and colors and creeds, all living together in harmony and peace.

Heck, there were even girls who did “boy things,” like Lt. Uhura on the bridge of the mighty and glorious Enterprise. I longed to live on that ship, where everyone cared about everyone and no one was bullied or ostracized, where everyone was not only tolerated but accepted and celebrated no matter who or what they were.

And before you knew it, there came the movies, and then “The Next Generation,” and all the series and movies in between and after those. I wonder, when Gene Roddenberry was creating that first show, if he knew that he was creating a place where us misfits could fit in, could feel approved and valued, could feel we belonged, could even be the cool kids. If he didn’t then, I hope he knew before he died.

He created an alternate place for many of us to reside – in secret or in the open – to become a family, to be good to one another, to be loved. I so thank him for that, especially today, on Star Trek’s 50th anniversary/birthday.

And I thank all of my Trek friends, my own band of cool kids, who have made me feel less lonely in a world gone quite mad with power and hatred and ridiculousness.

And to all of you, Trekkies and nonTrekkies, I wish for you to Live Long And Prosper.

You have two choices when you fall

danger-851895_1280I fell from a great height last night – the top of a ladder to be exact.

See, I’m a do-it-yourself kind of girl, and I decided to try to repair a bedroom ceiling light. So, there I was, on top of the ladder, when the bulb blew right while I was tinkering. Well, out went the light and with it went my equilibrium. Chandelier in hand, I flew backward through the air and landed between the bed and the dresser.

I knew immediately some things were broken, but thankfully none of them were part of me. The chandelier, which I have cherished for a number of years, is toast. So is a mirrored panel from the top of my dresser and a beloved candleholder. Once I got the lights on, it looked like a glass bomb had gone off.

But before that, there I was, flat on my back in the dark. My dog’s bed saved me. Yep, you read that right. Before working on said light, I was doing some rearranging and I had folded my German shepherd’s double-stacked memory foam bed in half and tucked it between the above-mentioned bed and dresser. (And for those of you who love to count, that is four cushy layers of memory foam.) I have never been so glad to have landed in a certain spot.

As I lay there, I almost panicked. I started to should all over myself. (I should have had someone else climb up there. I should have had another light on so I could see. I should not have climbed up there when I knew I was tired.) But then, even though I knew I was hurt, I stopped everything and took a deep breath. “You’re fine, I said to myself out loud. Yes, you’re hurt, but it’s going to be fine. You’ve been hurt before. Now let’s get up from here and figure out what’s next.”

I stood and ran a hand gingerly over one arm. I apparently tried to catch myself with my arm. It’s a natural reaction we have to falling, flail and try to break the fall. I got to a huge, pointy lump on my arm and thought, “That is the bone sticking out of my arm.” Again, I started to panic. But then, I took another deep breath and said out loud, “Well, if it is, there’s no use freaking out. What is done is done.” (But I do have to confess to being thrilled to see only a hellacious goose egg once I got a light on and my sleeve up.)

I immediately headed for the freezer for an ice pack and sat with it wrapped around my arm until it got warm. Then, I went back in my room, turned on a light and cleaned up the glass. I’ll glue the candleholder back together. It’s a glass elephant, part of a pair, and even though it won’t look as good as new, I’m a misfit toy and I love other misfit toys. (In the event you don’t know what I mean, here’s an explanation.) I took a big dose of ibuprofen and went to bed earlier than I planned.

Today, I am sore, in many places, but I am fine. I feel lucky that I didn’t get hurt worse than I did (although the bruise on my arm is literally more a foot long). The point in my telling you this is that you have two choices in life when you get knocked down – you can lie there and cry and whine about falling and then you can spend an infinite amount of time doing more of that OR you can get back up, brush yourself off, take a deep breath, be thankful it wasn’t worse and move on. I hope I will again choose the latter the next chance I get.